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Vol 24  Issue 1,238   October 15, 2020

PO Box 2, Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

Email: butchbridges@oklahomahistory.net, Phone: 580-490-6823

A Glimpse Into The Past

From Luck To A Planned Program

The education children received in early Indian Territory days was largely a matter of luck, home grown most of the time like everything else, it depended a great deal on the education, interest and means of the parents or on the qualifications of scattered teachers and tutors.

Many of the early neighborhoods would erect a building to be used as a church, school house and perhaps a lodge hall and general meeting place.

The Chickasaw Nation finally provided free schools for Indians to which whites were sometimes allowed to go if they paid a small tuition.

Indian academies mission schools are not being considered here. Their programs generally included instructions in higher grades then did the regular neighborhood schools and they were considered generally good. However, many of them were short-lived, they were never large in number and were very widely scattered.

Neighborhood Indian elementary schools were under the overall supervision of a superintendent. If a neighborhood had at least 10 Indians children between the ages of 6 and 14, it could petition for a school. If the request was granted, a local person was appointed as trustee. He was supposed to visit the school periodically and make a report to the superintendent. There was no standardization of textbooks or courses of study.

This was certainly a democratic process, in the broad sense, but one that would fluctuate in quality according to who was the trustee, he might be a college graduate or he might not have ever been seen a school himself, in which case he was likely to have rather startling ideas as to what constituted a good school. He was assumed to be honest, but having an answer only to a far away superintendent, he could easily be dishonest if he were clever. Assuming the superintendent was qualified for his post, lack of telephones and primitive mail service coupled with no roads are poor roads and slow vehicles made for ineffective management.

If a neighborhood had a minimum of 10 perspective Indian students it would allow enough additional Indians to come board in the neighborhood to make a maximum of 30 pupils her teacher. Eight dollars each month for each pupil’s board. Where he slept and what he ate depended on the family with whom he was quartered. It is to be imagined that quite a few trustees and families of trustees ran boarding houses. At one time the teachers earned $450 for a 10-month session, likely interrupted by lapses of farm work for the children.

So the early elementary Indian schools varied in quality. Some of the more affluent citizens hired tutors for their children and they were some subscription schools supported by several families with whom the teacher in many cases lived in turn. Some schools provided housing for the teachers on the campus.

Until 1899 there were no free schools for whites in Carter County. By 1907 there were 14. The coming of statehood was the spark that set off the building of the present fine public school system. By 1931 there were 52 schools in the county. Eight were consolidated, a trend that has continued, and the towns had formed independent districts.

The first County school superintendent under statehood was Mary V. Niblack. She was followed by Fred Tucker, L. M. Thurston and George W. Kaufman.

The fifth superintendent, Mrs. Kate Galt Zaneis, took over in 1920. In 1923 she was the author of Journal of Carter County Schools, an extremely comprehensive study of all the schools in the county and organizations connected with the schools. This 400-page book is full of facts and photographs of county and city schools, even going so far as to show the official plat of each district.

The names and addresses of all persons registered in the 1923 scholastic census as being head of families were even listed, with the exception of those living in Ardmore and Wilson. Those two towns had published city directories from which that information could be obtained.

Oil development has greatly increased the wealth of Carter County schools, progress has been continuous and these schools compared favorably with schools to be found anywhere. Omer Rowe is the present County Superintendent.
-from Carter County History book 1957

August 1926
Good response is being received in the campaign to eradicate the public drinking cup. Filling stations are the biggest violator of the state law which prohibits common drinking cups at public fountains.

August 1969
One more effort, and the final official one, failed to identify a young man, who fell, jumped, or was pushed from a moving freight train near Gene Autry on July 22nd, lead to a dead end when local authorities were told by the FBI they had no record of his fingerprints. A companion in the freight car, when the young man plunged it out, identified him only as Mike. As he hovered between life and death in a local hospital, many families seeking a lost son or father came to view him or called the hospital for details. He had the initials MLG tattooed on his arm. Nurses started calling him Mike Santa Fe Doe. He was buried August 22nd as Mike Santa Fe Doe in Ardmore’s Rose Hill Cemetery in a simple graveside service.


August 1926
J. M. Curbow and Emma Bach charged with bigamy, were sentenced to one year each in the state pen. Judge Asa Walden said he hated to send the woman to jail, and asked if she knew of an alternative. She said if purple went to jail, she wanted to go to jail. She also said she had a husband and three children living in Texas, but didn’t want to see any of them again.

August 1926
J. L. Rogers, Alias J. M. Beck, entered a plea of guilty to forgery in District Court Wednesday afternoon and was sentenced to serve two years in the penitentiary. Rogers admitted signing the name of H. C. Henderson to a check for $9 and passing it at the JC Penney store.

August 1950
Early day folks remember when the honorable William H. Murray was called “Cocklebur Bill”. When members of the Constitutional Convention met, they called him “Cocklebur Bill”. Murray did not like to have “Cucklebur” or “Cocklebur” hanging into his name. After women started wearing cockleburs in their hair, he was clever enough to substitute alfalfa and put it over and he later gained fame as Alfalfa Bill.

August 1982
A history buff talking about the Thurston Grove School, which was located 2 miles west and 3.25 miles south of Woodford, said it was located on Ignorance Hill near the uncouth and uneducated.

August 1926
Clemscott will hold a watermelon feast, terrapin race, harmonica contest, and well have a general good time this evening. The evening hours were chosen to the men in the oilfield who work all day can be in town and enjoy the sport. The harmonica winner gets ten bucks, and ten bucks goes to the largest melon brought in. Clemscott has a hustling, happy, prosperous citizenship and there is no limit to the city’s hospitality.

I learned yesterday that my friend James Lindsey passed away. He was maintenance supervisor at the courthouse, coming to work there only a year after I did. He helped me 1,000s of times, including running 10s of thousand of feet of Ethernet cables all over that courthouse and other county buildings for computer networks. We helped each other. I don’t know what I would have done without his help, many times the job required 2 people to complete. For years there was only the 2 of us to get’r done. But when I needed help James was always there for me. I will miss that gentle, soft spoken man.

Here is a picture of James cutting some employee’s retirement brick for me to go on the west side of the courthouse walkway.


This is James’ obituary


Q. Who was Bryan county named after?
A.  William Jennings Bryan

Q.  Where is Jed Town located in Oklahoma?
A.  Answer in next week’s newsletter

Below is from This and That newsletter archives of October 9, 2008

If you missed last Sunday’s Daily Ardmoreite, there was a great write-up by Steve Biehn on the Tivoli Theater. The article included a lot of history on the Tivoli’s past and present, plus a request for input on what it’s future may be. Steve is a staff writer at The Ardmoreite, and his article in Sunday’s paper really jogs the memory. It brings back times years ago, and all the movies we saw inside the landmark building as a teen.
“Years ago there was a plant northeast of Broken Bow at Hochetown [may not be spelled right] that processed horse apples for the seed. The seed were shipped to England where they were used as fence. That is what all the hedgerows in England are. I have the Bois d’arc all over my place. Squirrels eat the seed and they are also eaten by deer –horses and cattle. There are still Bois d’arc piers standing that were under homes at Old Powell that was moved when Lake Texoma was built. The homes that used oak– the piers are all gone. I have 2 bows that I built out of the wood.” -DeWayne
“Hi, I enjoyed the comments on the Bois d’Arc trees and I have a few more comments. My Dad bought a farm in Murray County in 1933 and the fences had Bois d/ Arc post in it. There is a corner post still in the ground there and is as solid as ever. The largest Bois d’Arc tree I ever saw was in Murray Co. and it was 3 ft. diameter at the trunk where it was cut.” -R. Stephens
“I just today stumbled into your 1996 posting of the old Southern Pacific playing cards. On the back of the cards is a Southern Pacific Northern GS-2 4-8-4 streamlined locomotive, pulling the distinctive red, orange, and black of the Daylight that went between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It might be a GS-3, which would be a little faster, but I suspect an advertising poster would use the earlier GS-2. The GS-2 series were all built in 1937, and they inaugurated that Daylight color-scheme. The GS-3 series were built in late 1937, although according to some sources the last wasn’t completed until early 1938. They were all built by Lima Locomotive Works. The actual image is from an advertising poster entitled “Southern Pacific Streamlined Daylight.” An original is in the California State Library. -John Sellen, Minnesota


“I truly enjoyed the history of the Hedges family. I was privileged to know Fanny Hedges and have a story that reveals her character. In the 60s I was employed by the First Presbyterian Church and one day heard a scratching noise in our sanctuary that I had to investigate. I finally found the source under a church pew. Fannie was on her hands and knees sanding the pew and when I asked her what in the world she was doing, she replied, “Well, I snagged my hose on this rough place Sunday, and I came to fix it”. Nuff said. Don and Becky Bostwick live on their farm nearby and I am told that their daughter lives on the Hedges place. When learning to paint with oils, one of my first efforts was the Hedges barn and a granddaughter has it in her home. Such precious memories you brought forth of a special pioneer member of our church. Thanks.” -Evelyn Gant
“Red Everett’s Grocery Store it was located on Hoxbar Route, which is now Sandy Creek Rd south of Ardmore. Still in Carter county of course.. Sandy creek does continue east to the Marshall County line… my parents acreage was just west of the grocery store. The store had everything you could imagine… a gas pump, kerosene pump (inside the store) groceries of course, ice cream and candy, a feed room was on the east side of the store and where a few of us would wait out of the cold weather for the Dickson school bus . On the west side of the store was another connecting building that held all the extra bottles of soda pop… Mr Everett had a big old white dog named Shep that slept on the front porch and had an egg for breakfast every morning with Mr Everett.” -Sharon Jones


Some mail from this week’s MAILBAG…..

Robert Hensley sent in the photos below this week. This first one is 3 people drilling for oil by hand in Healdton, Oklahoma.


This second one is the old 700 ranch that stood next to the Hardy Murphy Coliseum before being moved to the Geater Southwest History museum on Sunset street.


The train photo of the men, one is identified as Charles Jones Senior, first person on the left. In the second photo of the train with the children on it, Sarah Jones is identified as the woman standing by the train.


This is a photo of Healdton Main Street in 1927.


This next one is 5 men standing by a steam locomotive in Ardmore in 1920.


And lastly the photo below is a Sarah Jones next to Reavis Drug store in Ardmore.

Here is a 1930s photo of the Goldsmith Grocery in Love County.


It is only when the cold season comes that we know the pine and cypress to be evergreens.

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

“Friends Make Life Worth Living”Lone Grove, Oklahoma


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